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Liu Yanli

HRD, Blogger

Liu Yanli is an active blogger and has published numerous articles online and campaigned for issues such as anti-corruption, transparency for government officials’ personal assets, protection of the rights of elderly veteran soldiers, and democratic reforms. She is also a member of the free speech campaign group Independent Chinese PEN Centre, part of PEN International. In 2015, she participated in a campaign for China’s peaceful democratic transition and also engaged in efforts to legally register the independent organisation China Human Rights Watch. Both campaigns were initiated by fellow human rights defender Qin Yongmin, who is now serving 13 years’ imprisonment as consequence for his peaceful human rights work. Liu Yanli is also the recipient of the 14th Lin Zhao Memorial Award given by the Chinese PEN in 2018 and of the 2nd Yu Zhijian Memorial Award in 2019.


Chinese human rights defenders work across a wide spectrum of issues, engaging with rights violators on numerous levels. Chinese HRDs find themselves victims of curtailment of free speech and assembly. Rather than directly attacking the work of human rights defenders, Chinese authorities frequently use defenders’ public remarks calling for political reform as criminal evidence, accusing defenders of “subverting state power” or advocating “separatism.”